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Shading with the Adobe Illustrator CS5 Mesh Object

Article Description

Simple lines can convey straightforward ideas, but subtlety often requires shading. Brian Wood, contributor to Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book, demonstrates using mesh objects to add gradients to curves. Brian shares his best tips for saving steps and preventing headaches as you work with mesh objects.

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Adding or Deleting Points in a Gradient Mesh

Adding or Deleting Points in a Gradient Mesh

In addition to moving the points of a gradient mesh, you can add or subtract mesh points and lines. Subtracting mesh points allows you to create a simpler mesh with less distortion. Adding mesh points, on the other hand, makes your gradient mesh more complex, with more different colors or shades of a single color. More points can be very beneficial when you're attempting to produce realistic artwork (such as a person's face) or a greater variety of gradient, for instance. Let's try it:

  1. Deselect the mesh object on the page.
  2. Select the Mesh tool, if it's not already selected, and position the pointer over the center mesh point. Hold down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) key. A minus sign (-) appears next to the pointer. Click the point to remove that point and its associated mesh lines.
  3. To add a point, position the pointer over the object in a blank area. When the plus sign appears to the right of the pointer, click to add another mesh point.
  4. Notice that a new mesh point and lines are added. Also notice that the color assigned to the mesh point is the same color that was at that spot in the object—it hasn't changed (see Figure 9).

    If you want to add a mesh point and add another color to the mesh object, you need to select the color first.

    Figure 9 Adding and subtracting mesh points and mesh lines.

  5. Deselect the mesh object by choosing Select > Deselect.
  6. With the Mesh tool selected, choose a fill color in the control panel (or elsewhere) that's different from the mesh object's colors.
  7. Position the pointer over the mesh object. Click in a blank area when the plus sign appears next to the pointer (see Figure 10).
  8. Figure 10 Adding a mesh point and a different color.

5. Distorting the Points of a Gradient Mesh | Next Section Previous Section